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Veteran Pakistan pace bowler Umar Gul has his sights set on making a comeback to international cricket and admitted that he was gutted not to be picked for the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL).
Gul has not played for Pakistan since September 2016, and even though it has been two years since his last international match, the 34-year-old is confident that he has what it takes to regain his spot in the national team.
With the 2019 World Cup beginning in May, Gul is hoping to capture the selectors’ attention by putting up a string of strong performances in the upcoming Pakistan Cup, which is a domestic one-day tournament that will run from April 2 to 14.
“I am fully focused and training very hard in the nets and preparing myself for the coming Pakistan Cup,” he told The Nation. “The international matches are also around the corner and I will ensure my performances catch the eyes of the selectors to earn [me a] recall in the national team soon.
“The Pakistan team is in dire need of a wicket-taking bowler upfront, as the fast bowlers are not providing early breakthroughs, which I used to provide.
“I am keen to deliver during the Pakistan Cup and want to prove that I am still not done yet and can bowl with a lot of venom and pace and [can also bowl] toe-crusher yorkers, which can bamboozle any batsman.
“A player’s job is always to work hard and leave the rest. If one looks at my entire career, I have staged a lot of comebacks. When I was written off by pundits, I gave them befitting replies by coming back into the national fold and cementing my place.
“Injuries [have] hampered my progress in the past, but now I am fully fit and ready to spearhead the bowling attack and provide Pakistan [with] more success, especially in the ODIs against Australia and England.”
In regards to the PSL, Gul did not get selected by any of the franchises in the draft, even though he felt he performed well in the National T20 Cup in December last year, where he took eight wickets in six games for Islamabad at an average of 26.50.
In last year’s PSL, Gul only played two games for the Multan Sultans but took eight wickets at an average of 6.25 while maintaining an economy rate of 6.25.
“None of the franchises considered me as I played in domestic one-days, four-days, National T20 and helped my department HBL become national champions in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and in the National One-Day Cup. Despite helping Islamabad in the National T20 Cup and bowling with lot of pace and venom, my achievements weren’t considered for the PSL,” he said.